For three excruciating weeks in May, Renee Haugerud, the founder of New York hedge fund Galtere Ltd., agonized that her wager on corn was a massive mistake.
She had started buying in March, when futures contracts averaged about $5.59 a bushel, expecting steady to rising demand from ethanol refiners and feedlots to boost prices. Instead, on May 10, the U.S. Department of Agriculture reported record planting and forecast a bumper crop. Prices began a 12 percent slide for the month. Other hedge funds bailed.